Analysis: Ukraine, Russia, and Alaska’s both strategic and fragile position

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In 2020, voter outreach was largely done with Zoom, but back in the now-ancient days of 2014 people knocked on doors the old-fashioned way as part of a statewide effort to defeat a new oil tax. In an upscale Juneau neighborhood, a house was rented by three men from Ukraine; they were not voters in Alaska.

The campaign volunteer that day, opposing oil tax increases, was surprised the Ukrainians had a fluency with the U.S. Constitution that easily matched that of a well-educated American. They had an adoration for the Constitution of the sort you might encounter in someone who enjoyed talking baseball statistics, a particular genre of music, or some variety of cuisine. But their reverence was far stronger.   

“I believe that they also could have flawlessly recited the Declaration of Independence, each taking one line after the other. It was somewhat humbling to me. We all can too easily take for granted what is handed to us,” the campaign volunteer said this week.

Who were these Ukrainian men? They were in Juneau as fish processing laborers. It’s not unusual for people from eastern Europe, the Philippines, or Mexico to come to Alaska in groups to work in the seafood industry. They liked the work, they said, but would soon leave for home at the end of their current contract rather than begin a new contract as.

Why? “The Russians are killing our women and babies.” These were articulate, educated men, not the kind you would not expect to back down from a fight.   

“I cannot help but think of them at this time,” the Alaskan campaign worker said to Must Read Alaska this week.

In Eastern Europe, the distinction U.S. media have established between strong-man dictatorships is that there is the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, (NAZIs and fascism) at one end, and Bernie Sanders/Karl Marx Socialism-Communism at the other.

People who have directly suffered and/or people who have fought to keep those regimes at bay see them as one-in-the-same. These survivors are correct: If you were to have visited Berlin and Moscow on May 1, 1939, the banners, parades, military demonstrations, and symbols would have been pretty much exactly the same as the ones we see now from the Left; only the languages, German and Russian, were different.   

Russia, or the Soviet Union, and Hitler’s Third Reich invaded Poland together; they only split when each wanted the same spoils and territory.   

People in Ukraine, like the men who worked in Juneau, have suffered because of Putin — and Stalin, Hitler, Khrushchev before him — and any distinctions between ideologies is no more important to them than is the difference between the .30 caliber bullets from Russian Moisins (and now AK rifles), and the Third Reich .32 caliber bullets coming out of 8X57 Mausers.    

All of Eastern Europe is expecting to be scathed to one degree or another. Even Finland has boosted its military readiness as international tensions rise over Russia’s armed build-up near Ukraine; the swearing in of  Finnish volunteers has traditionally always been done with the oath being sworn as the volunteer turns and faces Russia.  

Ukrainian women from 18 to 60 have been called up for the draft and will comprise at least 15 percent of people being put on the front lines to confront Russia. Between 15,000 and 30,000 volunteers from foreign countries have come to Ukraine to serve in defense roles. 

It’s a safe bet that some Alaskans are there already, serving in different branches of the military.

The Russians have said that if they attack, all communications and navigation in Ukraine will be stopped. This will be done by Russia, North Korea or China, or even accomplished by a non-governmental proxy.

That destruction of technologies could slop over to Alaska. Air and marine navigation that depends on satellites could be impacted or even curtailed. Communication technology that utilizes satellites could be threatened by China both as a way to warn the U.S. and to support Russia. Utilities could be interrupted by Russian hackers. Government and industrial activities could be impacted by hacker mischief, or by hostile government action that would be blamed on hackers. Potential interruptions in barge and air traffic could occur if either is threatened in any way by Russian, Chinese or N. Korean actions.  

The U.S. is already plagued by supply chain interruptions that implicate China. One look at the Port of Seattle waterfront tells the story for the Northwest, with hundreds, if not thousands of containers stacked on shore and on barges in Puget Sound.

Alaskans can be prepared for possible changes, even if those changes seem today to have little likelihood of happening. Keeping a battery-operated short wave radio ready is not an outrageous idea. Stocking up on supplies of commodities not produced in Alaska is also timely. What we have learned from the Covid pandemic early days is big box stores in Alaska have their inventory out on shelves. There are no warehouses to resupply. Holding onto 500 rounds seems prudent. Currency and currency substitutes could come in handy by the second month of any general supply disruption.

Anyone who believes that the Russian armed forces can quickly roll over the top of Ukrainian resistance easily need only look at what the Taliban accomplished with little more than rifles, improvised mines, and motorbikes in Afghanistan. This could go on for a while — a long while. Ukrainians and Russians have been fighting for generations, and they’re good at protracted conflict.

It’s not lost on Alaskans that Putin made his one very successful move on Ukraine while President Barack Obama was in office, and now Putin seems poised to move again, just when we have a weak and possibly demented man in the White House.  

The ignominious way the Biden Administration departed from Afghanistan last year may have emboldened strong-man dictators throughout the world, including in Russia, N. Korea and China.

Putin was largely contained during the Donald Trump years even though the media would have us believe all sorts of theories and conspiracies regarding Trump and Russia. The chess board between Russia, China, Ukraine, and President Biden has very real implications for all of us.

Suzanne Downing is editor of Must Read Alaska.

37 COMMENTS

  1. You know what is most troubling is seeing so many americans can’t see their idylic american branded version of communism or socialiism is the same as lenin, marx, and hitler ideologies that devastated their nations and region while destroying lives and livelihoods.

  2. I’ve always said, many have scoffed at me, that we are only as safe as Seattle and the barge system. Any trouble in Seattle, natural or man made, and we have no food and supplies. There is no contingency plan, at least not in Juneau. Forget about supplies from Canada, that option is gone. During the pandemic our Costco constructed large concrete pillars in front of the store. Wide enough for people and carts to pass through, but not a vehicle. Ask yourself why…

    • I have a contingency plan. About 16 days of canned food and related supplies.

      Anyone who lives in Juneau and doesn’t have a cache of non perishable food is an idiot. Especially post Covid.

      • Keeping more than a day or two’s worth of food on hand at all times is smart, TMA. Not just smart, but it is (or can be) significantly less expensive to shop sales and stock on when things are cheaper, as well.

        Myself, I keep a minimum of six month’s worth of all consumables on hand at any given time.

  3. As always, MustReadAlaska is first in initiating a needed and worthwhile discussion. Over 1 million Americans have strong ties to Ukraine, and Canada even more. The two US communities with the highest proportions of Ukrainians are in Alaska (Delta Jct. and Deltana)! If the war is protracted we will undoubtedly see Ukrainians known to be Russian sympathizers being shot in the streets. We may also see a far east front established from Alaska in an attempt to divert some amount of Russian military resources away from Ukraine. For Alaskans, keeping at least 200 rounds each for favorite rifles, pistols and shotguns continues to be a good idea as no one knows where this will all go now that it has begun. If China chooses this time to move on Taiwan there will be real implications for all Pacific Rim air and water travel and freight. Ms. Downing’s mention of 1939 could be prophetic.

    • Prophetic, President Washington’s 3 visions of war on American soil. It’s even in the library of Congress.
      Yeah kayak im the villager u tick off w/ ur white village views about guys like me, but hey it happens. Reading some of ur comments makes me think ur above avg intelligence. Ask u to come out to western Alaska meet a lot of good people out here, that’s not to say we dont have our share of village idiots, still think u might like it.

  4. Totalitarian regimes through history have always eliminated their opposition by killing them or torturing then killing. There is no middle road, debatable arguments, or coexisting with nature or people who have differing viewpoints. History has told us this but history is not taught anymore in our school systems. I don’t know if it is too late or not to take our country back from the evil within and abroad but we owe it to our kids to not be the ones who went down without a struggle. People have to become more self reliant like our forefathers were. Apathy and self indulgence, have been the downfall of all countries that claimed to be democracies which we were not, we were a constitutional republic but no more. We have become satiated, lazy but most importantly corrupted from within.
    “Never underestimate your opponent.” Sun Tzu The Art of War
    These totalitarian regimes see us as weak now due to our leadership, laziness and corruption. They feel it is now their time to act. It will not stop with Hong Kong or Ukraine, it will move to Taiwan, South Korea or whoever else they want impose their will on. Who is there to stop them? Or should I say who do they fear?
    Wake up America but it may be too late.

  5. A good analysis but it would be improved by reference to an ethno-linguistic map of Ukraine. Russian is spoken by a majority of people that reside in the eastern third of Ukraine. I consider it highly likely that Vladimir will focus his efforts on this area and these folks. Ukrainians will resist in areas where Ukrainians live. Outside of that area, the conflict will look much different.

    To most Americans these folks all look and sound the same. They are not. Americans struggle with English and the mass media and Hip-Hop do not help. No wonder things are going so badly for us.

    • “Going so badly for us”, never thought hip hop as part of that before. Always considered that Godless country music as part of our down fall though. What do you think of heavy metal, and no I don’t mean black metal that music just sucks, I mean heavy metal, think it is apart of our downfall as well? And JMark what music do you think of as not apart of Americas downfall?

    • Thank you for pointing out this important fact. America is not an ethnic nation which makes it hard for many Americans to understand the irrelevance of lines drawn on a map to many people around the world.

  6. Heartily disagree. After listening to a recent you tube video on the ‘ crisis’ I consider myself better educated. Hearken back to 1962 and the. Cuban missle crisis. The US was on the tip of war over what? The idea of any nuclear missiles on our doorstep. In fact the Monroe doctrine flatly stated that if any European nation had ideas of taking over the independent nations in North America ( think Canada or Mexico ) or in South America the Us would not allow it!! Now turn it around and think Russia with a would be NATO nation at its doorstep ( the Ukraine) We we’re warned that this would NOT be allowed by Russia a few years ago. Yet it has progressed in that direction. The eastern part of the Ukraine is populated mostly by Russian speaking Ukrainians who are also mostly sympathetic to Russia. And guess what, the western part is,populated mostly by those who don’t speak Russian and are not sympathetic to Russia!! The idea of one homogeneous nation that is strongly united againt Russia is false!! Serious disunity exists in the Ukraine and it is evident in their voting and selection of national leadership. Historically Ukrainians have fought against Russia ( withe the Wehrmacht in WW2 and against Germany ( with communism and Russia ) in WW2 . By far our biggest concern should be with China and possibly N Korea but the concept of collusion between Russia and China must not be discounted. Our national focus on the Ukraine would be an excellent time for China to go for Taiwan, in the sw Pacific we have the 7th fleet with thousands of sailors. They would be a ready target for China in the attempt at Taiwan. There would be many deaths. Also Biden is taking the focus very conveniently of the huge national,problems now engulfing the US ( think inflation and an unsecured border and forthcoming midterm elections). As you’ve said many times? Not like the Dems to waste a good crisis!!

    • China yeah have to keep an eye on em. Trust them as far as you can throw 1.4 billion Chinese. North K, I really don’t see them as a threat, yeah long range missile tech w/ nuke capabilities, but we’d knock ‘em outta the air b4 they got here. Lil Kim
      just wants other leaders to respect him,
      don’t ever see that happening so he acts like a kid throwing a tantrum and shoots some missiles.
      If (when) China takes Taiwan, China will stare down Joe and Harris, and those two will say “swift and severe sanctions will be coming”. Then nothing will happens except Taiwanese will have to go to re-education camps and come out hard core commies.

      • I heard the boundaries of the Ukraine have not been agreed to nor recorded with the UN. Sovereign nations usually register their boundaries with UN. Right? Perhaps not done in this case?

  7. Elections have consequences. Choosing the senile crook over the bad orange man has led us here.

    Higher prices, skyrocketing inflation, and a world on the brink of a major war.

    All because mean orange man was icky and made “mean tweets.”

    This is what you thought you wanted, America. Happy?

    • How many people showed up to Trump rallies? Mainstream media showed no one went to those. Non mainstream media and the one who were there at the rallies and weren’t sensored showed thousands of people. When ol joe showed up to his rally, people sat in cars! Not even sure I could say hundreds showed up at his rallies. It was like that right up to Election Day. Amazingly the most votes cast for a president was for ol joe! Whaaaaaat? I call bs on the election.
      My opinion, Trump was only about American 1st all others could kiss our behinds. So had to get rid of him, put in the wet sock puppet, let globalist carry out their agenda especially during the “Covid pandemic”. W/ this weak admin, the mid-terms can’t get here fast enough.

  8. There are steps the Governor should consider now in case conditions devolve in a dangerous direction: (1) The Alaska National Guard needs to be prepared to keep the Canadian border open for Alaskans even if the Canadian government continues to disregard the need for Alaskans to have full communication with the Lower 48. (2) The Governor has sometimes called Alaska a Second Amendment Sanctuary State but it never has been, and now is a great time to take the steps necessary for that to actually happen. (3) This is a prime time for real leadership in order to assure Alaskans that what we will see is not the usual electioneering in front of the camera but action commensurate with Alaska’s geographic location between Russia and the United States. (4) A frank discussion with Alaskans about possibilities and preparedness should come soon.

  9. According to my Europium sources, the Russians are talking about taking Finland next. Taking advantage of a weak president here. Just a heads up, the Russians have always felt that Alaska still belongs to them…

  10. Great read thank you Suzanne……
    If there is military action and disruption the first strike from our F35s should be the knik river bridges.This could be done to protect Anchorage from the Deplorable in The Valley.
    Second to keep Canada open for Alaskans {North of Anchorage} we need to Break from the union and Return to a Territory. Then promptly declare war on Canada.This would be known as the Alaska / Canoid conflict lasting abuut 30 hours.
    Third contact Russia and strike a deal to lease them Southeast Alaska for the ice free deep water port they need. Lastly build couple coal plants down there to sell electricity to Portland and Seattle.
    And Ukraine, let Europe deal with that. Germany is feeding the Bear from its gas purchases; it’s not our fight.

    • Make sure we are protected from the Adorables on the Anc. Assembly. Wait there aren’t any, and there lies the rub of why they believe as they do.

  11. Here’s the problem with our weakened government. We could very well possibly be in a fight with Russia, N. Korea, China and also Iran. Several different fronts looking for an opportunity to finally break the U.S..
    Wake up Americans.

  12. One of the Putin arguments is that he and the Russians view NATO as an offensive force, which is what we viewed the Warsaw Pact as. It was.

    Maybe we are seeing the unintentional damage done by retaining the Cold War structures 30 years after the end of the Cold War. One approach would be to dissolve NATO and set up a new organization with the same nations to do things in the 21st Century under a 21st Century structure. Organize for the war you expect rather than the one you won a generation and a half ago. Cheers –

  13. Well done Suzanne. As a child I saw firsthand the horrible wall of wire, guard towers and land mine areas separating my family members East and West. I saw my grandfather try to stifle his tears as he looked eastward. I was later stationed in Germany in the 70’s and spent much time “down range” along the Czech border as well. That wall wasn’t designed to keep people out, it was a prison. The evils of communism have unfortunately been turned into virtue by so many naive people in our own country. It is sad to see evil incarnate embraced for the sake of living an entitlement life.

  14. Keep in mind the interests that run this country and put the puppet Biden as office place holder insured the Russian Federations’ economic stability by shutting down US oil/gas production and signed off on Russian dominance to provide energy to Europe.
    The Ukraine is a prime money laundering destination of tax payer foreign aid, wherein a bipartisan collection of senators, representatives and 10% off the top cut to the “big guy” Biden and US based contractors skim back cash payoffs through offshore banks from this aid.
    There is an endless history of conflict between the cradle of Slavic culture in Ukraine and “mother” Russia, with the Ukraine disappearing and re uniting as a nation for thousands of years.
    This includes the settling of massive numbers of ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine by order of Stalin. Ukrainians were unreliable serfs to the Soviet socialists and many cooperated with the socialist German/Romanian/Hungarian/Italian invasion of 1941 against the red comrades from Moscow.
    Ukraine is essentially a police state as is the Russian Federation (the US is essentially becoming an oligarch ruled police state enforced by the out of control intelligence branch of government seating and unseating president administrations at will with no push back).
    The coal rich eastern region of Ukraine is majority Russian by design. You rarely hear Ukrainian spoken in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions and towards the frontier at Rostov na Danau.
    The Putin regime would not be able to manipulate and maneuver freely without the full behind scenes support of the US intelligence agencies and support of our own oligarchs who feed the teleprompter for the dependz diaper dependant “president” that is said, with straight face, to have received 81 million votes.
    The contractor lobbyists are addicted to conflicts that result in sales and government subsidies.
    There is no high purpose to this nonsense except corrupt fortunes being made and opportunity to pretend Biden has a functional brain left.
    The US border is what we need be concerned for. Where is our effeminate and compromised military? Taking orders from an installed junta and forcibly injecting personnel with toxins.
    The Ukranians can fight for their soverignty, we need to fight for ours.

  15. Very sad to see this here on MRA – the same Rusophobic fear mongering as we see in the mainstream media.
    Yes, Ukrainians and Russians have been fighting for generations. More accurately, Ethnic Russian Ukranians and other Ukrainians have been fighting for generations. And still would be, and it would be none of our business. In 2014, members of the Obama administration and U.S. deep state operatives made it our business, by organizing a coup in Ukraine. Revolutionary forces were recruited, armed and trained by american operatives. Then assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland famously passed out cookies at a revolutionary demonstration, and later discussed, in a recorded phone call, whom exactly she would choose for each position in the new government, which was installed shortly after the coup.
    Why would they do this?
    Money. Then VP Joe Biden and his son Hunter, along with many other American politicians had very lucrative dealings in Ukraine. They needed a government there that they could control. Look up “Hunter Biden – Burisma”.
    Control. The Nordstream 1 and 2 pipelines between Russia and Germany mainly and trade between Russia and Europe in general. Good trade relations between Russia and Europe would leave the U.S. out of much of the Eoropean market.
    Military. Controling the government in Ukraine would eventually lead to U.S. installations there.
    After eight years of fighting and failed diplomacy, the situation in Ukraine has once again come to the forefront, interestingly, shortly after the guy who was VP during the original coup was put into power…
    The U.S., and U.S. controlled NATO have done everything they could manage to goad Russia into an altercation, clustered around Ukraine, which is not even a member of NATO.
    Putin is no angel, but comparing him to Hitler and Stalin is utterly absurd.
    There are many politicians in America (and recently Canada) who could much more accurately be compared to Nazis and Communist dictators.
    Putin recognizing the Donetsk and Lahansk republics as independent, and agreeing to protect their people is reasonable, even honorable, compared to the dozens of illegal, imoral, and sometimes outright cruel actions that the American Empire has taken over the course of her history.
    I honestly expected a much more informed article on this subject from MRA. – M.John

    • Honorable? Putin has attacked a sovereign independent nation. He didn’t just send troops into those separatist held regions, he attacked all Ukraine from 3 sides.

      Putin poisons his political enemies and steals money from his people. He is who trump wants to become. Putin is illegally re-elected each election cycle, just as trump tried to do … 60 plus lawsuits and yet they still bever actually showed proof of the so called voters fraud. Trump is on tape trying to get Georgia officials to just find his 11k votes he needed to come out on top.

      You need to do MORE research and not just right wing propaganda that has been support putin. Critical thinking is the ability to find the truth, not just a talking point that reassures your own bias. Facts actually matter, history actually matters.

      America stands with democracy around the world, WE do NOT stand with dictators nor wanna be dictators. Putin is a dictator, and trump wishes he was putin.

      Are you American? Then don’t stand with Russia.

  16. Again you disappoint me in your conclusions.

    You wanna bring up trump … fine, but bring up the actual truth as well. He just called putin a genius not to mention he did jack during his own administration to actually deter putin from any of this. Not to mention right wing news propaganda flouting putin while our ancestors turn over in their graves going WTF.

    So no this would have happened even if Trump was in still in office, the difference would be ZERO sanctions against the murderous russian dictator.

    Stop praising trump while you watch him praise putin.

  17. Suzanne, your commentary is simplistic in describing a highly complex situation.
    You state « Putin was largely contained during the Donald Trump years. » If this is true, how can you explain the 2018 Helsinki Summit where Trump appeared eager to defer to Putin and the Kremlin over US intelligence sources as well as the FBI? Putin, usually stone faced, was absolutely jubilant, grinning from ear to ear.
    You may blame President Obama and « the weak and possibly demented man in the White House ». However, the blame goes way back.
    You compare the invasion of Ukraine with the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Uh, I think you missed the fact that this group progressed from a very simplistic organization to a much more complex one, using social media and highly decentralized management on the ground to take advantage of local opportunities. They have corrected their past mistakes of violent repression in order to maintain a minimum of international aid.
    You mention Finland which you choose to gloss over the fact this country suffered greatly over Russian control. They made enormous sacrifices to maintain their freedom from Russia and to keep up a dialogue with their neighbor.
    Finland has been a close partner of NATO since the 1990s and has ALWAYS supported sanctions against Russia.
    The Baltic nations are the ones who are particularly concerned, especially Lithuania and Poland, due to their neighbor, Belarus. May I remind you that they basically hijacked a Ryan Air flight to jail a Belarusian activist and his wife?!
    Finally, you suggest Alaskans should stock up on CB radios, foodstuffs and 500 rounds of AMMUNITION?! Any 1964 Earthquake « survivor » generally already possesses these items and I would hope that the ammo is geared toward subsistence hunting rather than attempting to fend off a supposed Russian attack.
    Instead of glorifying this needless invasion of Ukraine and isolating Americans (and Alaskans) by saying you just don’t care, start defending the democracy and the US Constitution it supports! I do believe you when you said that these 3 Ukrainians knew much about the Constitution. However, I doubt VERY seriously that most educated Americans are as knowledgeable about the intricate in’s-and-out’s of this document.
    Most readers will probably pooh-pooh these remarks and slam me as a « leftist ». Nope, I am a firm believer in democracy and am willing to discuss and debate in a respectful fashion.
    Democratically yours,
    Catherine

    • Catherine,
      You’ve made some good points, but I believe several are misguided. The Russian Federation is not the Russian Empire nor is she the Soviet Union. Finland has never been under the control of the Russian Federation. Finland IS currently charging Christian clergy members with hate crimes, threatening jail time, for simply stating their traditional Christian beliefs. So much for democracy.
      Defending democracy and defending the U.S. constitution would be defending two ideologically opposed things. The United States was founded as a constitutional republic, NOT as a democracy. I am not a firm believer in democracy, but I am a firm believer in free markets. The main cause of the current situation in Ukraine is the coup against and subsequent overthrow of an elected government in Ukraine by American operatives for the purpose of blocking free trade between Russia and the rest of Europe, mainly Germany (NordStream 2). While I’m sure the government of the Russian Federation is at least somewhat corrupt, I doubt whether we could find one that isn’t, least of all the U.S government. The position of U.S./NATO is, and generally always has been, that the Russian Federation has no right to free trade, and no right to protect her interests. I believe they are wrong.
      All that said, I appreciate your reasoned and well thought out comment. – M.John

      • M.John, Finland is a democracy. The Finnish clergywoman you are referring to used Bible verses to express her views on homosexuality. The Finnish judiciary determined that her public statements were hate crimes, based on Finnish LAWS.
        You have misconstrued this situation by suggesting that she was « attacked » simply because she was a Christian. Sorry but this is false.
        Sincerely,
        Catherine

  18. I am sure the CIA’s hare brained scheme to topple the duly elected President of Ukraine in 2013 has nothing to due with the current situation there now! Neocon/neoliberal’s delusions of grandeur concerning global regime change have never worked out so well for the USA. This current debacle in Eastern Europe can be laid directly at the feet of the Obama/Biden administration & Warmonger in Chief Hillary Clinton. I don’t feel very safe with a demented Commander in Chief at the helm right now. Regime change plans always lead to war & now our foe is nuclear armed. What can posssibly go wrong.

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